In this blog, we’re going to learn about what causes mould to form, what it can do to our health, how to get rid of black mould and what we can do to prevent it from forming. Being informed of the damage it can cause and how to best tackle it is the key to staying ahead of the game and keeping your home safe this winter.
So picture it…
As the crisp winter air starts to settle in, it’s time to break out the cosy clothes and whack the radiators on up to 5. Dusting off the dressing gown and bringing out the thick socks to wrap over the toes that have been barefoot all summer. Your laundry drying slowly on the airer in the far corner of the room, rather than speedily outside in the sun.
Our homes can become our safe haven during this time of year, with candles to light up the dark evenings, wrapped up under a blanket on the sofa with a hot cuppa tea. Sadly, not many people are aware that the things they’re doing daily might actually be the root cause of their health issues.
These months can be comforting and make you feel immense gratitude for your home. But some issues can arise during these coming months, that if left unchecked, could have damaging effects on your health!
The winter months can cause Black mould to develop within the walls of your house, which can have detrimental effects on your wellbeing, cause illness and even worsen the conditions you may already be suffering from. By knowing what the issue is, we can learn how to get rid of black mould once and for all!
What Is Black Mould?
Most of us know of mould, but often don’t really understand why or how it is created. Black Mould is the most notorious form of mould as it can cause serious harm to the buildings it forms within and on the human body. Its proper name is Stachybotrys chartarum and is usually a greeny-black colour. It can be found in almost every type of common building or structure, such as your home, school, office buildings, hospitals, and literally anywhere!
It can have a distinct smell, that is very unpleasant, and usually shows in the form of black patches or deposits that are formed on and within walls and ceilings. Technically, not all mould is black mould, as there can be many types that can mean different things.
All types are considered bad for buildings and for human health, so it’s equally important to get rid of black mould or any mould, no matter what type it is!
How Does Black Mould Form?
When the conditions of the building are suitable, black mould can easily begin forming and multiplying within 24 hours of the conditions being right.
Here are the main ways black mould can form:
Moisture – black mould thrives in damp and wet environments, making rooms in the house that generate excess moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, particularly susceptible to mould development.
Natural Materials – mould likes to feed on materials that are natural and organic, so wood, paper and drywalls are the perfect breeding grounds for black mould to multiply. Because of this, our homes are usually the ideal target, and can see our walls and ceilings become hot spots for black spots!
Lack of Ventilation – bad airflow can encourage mould by trapping the moisture from the air within the building. Our breath can increase the moisture levels in the air while we’re sleeping and start to encourage black mould to form in our bedrooms during winter months.
Temperature – cold weather can cause our windows and doors to develop condensation. The low temperature creates moisture and can cause dampness as well as mould to grow inside our homes. Putting the heating on can help get rid of black mould easier.
Time – as soon as the conditions are right for mould to start forming, it does not take long for it to get going, so the more time we allow our homes to be vulnerable to mould, the more likely it will be to fall victim to it.
Is Black Mould the Same as Damp?
Damp is a reference to the excess moisture that is present in the walls of a building. This is usually formed due to water leaks, flooding, extreme condensation or high humidity. It is more prominent during the winter months because of how often it rains and the colder temperatures. Damp is seen as the stage before black mould, as it provides the ideal condition within buildings for it to turn into black mould.
If you think you have dampness in your home, it’s important you treat it early before it has the chance to develop into black mould, or your health can suffer greatly!
Checking for Black Mould
If you suspect your home may have black mould, it’s a good idea to inspect it properly to make sure you know what it is you’re dealing with. That way you can determine how you’re going to respond to your situation and clarify whether you need to call in a specialist or if it’s something you’re able to sort out yourself.
Here are some things you can do to check if you have black mould in your home:
Visual Inspection – check for the signs of mould or black mould developing on walls or hotspots where you think it might be likely to grow. Look for black or green spots on the walls and ceilings, and don’t forget to check areas that are prone to leakages from pipes or your boiler. Finding where the issue is located is the first step to get rid of black mould.
Smell – sometimes this can be the first thing that piques our curiosity, and we may not even know what it is we can smell. Use your nose to look out for a distinctive musky smell coming from certain rooms or walls within your home. You might be able to smell black mould before it fully forms or becomes visually obvious.
Check for Leaks – look around the house for any places that might be frequently wet, this can be your kitchen around the sink, bathroom where the bathwater might sometimes spill, or from a burst pipe in the walls.
Ask a Professional – if you’re unsure you should always consult a professional so they can confirm what the issue may be. They will have equipment that can check the humidity levels as well as test for traces of mould in the walls or ceilings. A professional will know how to get rid of black mould with ease, leaving you free to relax.
How to Get Rid of Black Mould
When trying to get rid of black mould, your priority should be resolving the moisture issue before all else. You should also look at ways you can improve the ventilation in the room, you can do this by opening windows or doors and by using air de-humidifiers that work by sucking the moisture out of the air.
If you attempt to remove the mould directly, you should make sure you’re wearing gloves, protective gear for your clothes and if necessary, a N95 mask to help filtrate the toxic fumes that are released from the mould.
Remember, if you’re clearing the mould yourself, you need to make sure you’re disposing of the waste responsibly. For less severe mould, sprays can be used to kill off the spores and be wipes away. These can be purchased from most high-street supermarkets or cleaning stores. Hopefully this help you learn how to get rid of black mould from your home.
Health Impact of Black Mould Exposure
Being exposed to black mould even for a short amount of time can cause you to become ill and make any conditions you already have, worse. Black mould emits allergens and toxic fumes that can cause us to have a bad effect on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at some of the commonly known effects that black mould can have on our health:
Skin and Eye Irritation
Coming into direct contact with black mould can cause your skin to become irritated, cause rashes and inflammation. You should make sure you never touch mould with your bare skin, wear gloves at all times. If you do come in contact, you can take medications such as creams and antihistamines.
The toxins within black mould can cause some to have allergic reactions, so be careful not to come into contact with mould or get too close. To get rid of black mould won’t only help your home, but help keep your skin in tip top shape!
Being exposed to toxic fumes from mould can cause an increase in respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD, bronchitis and much more. The toxins weaken the immune system which causes illnesses to develop, as well as causing the throat and nasal passageways to become inflamed which can make coughing and sneezing more likely to occur.
Immune System Suppression
Long term exposure to black mould can badly affect your immune system and immune response, making the likelihood of developing all kinds of illnesses more likely.
Some studies have shown that being exposed to black mould over extended periods of time can cause certain neurological effects on the brain. People often report having persistent headaches, migraines and sometimes even have short-term memory loss.
Detoxing from Black Mould
If you’ve been exposed to black mould in your home, there are lots of ways you can detox and get back to your healthiest once again! These are just some of the ways you can remove some of the toxins from your body. e-Surgery also recommends regularly doing the following things to keep the body and mind in tip top shape, all year round.
Drink Lots of Water – drinking water can help flush away any unneeded toxins from the body, so try to aim to drink roughly 2 litres of good quality water each day.
Each Antioxidant Foods – Try to eat healthy, nutrient food that’s have antioxidant effects on the body. Most fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and nutrients that enrich the body of the things it needs to keep healthy.
Supplements – Taking supplements daily can help ensure our body’s getting the nutrients it needs. A multivitamin tends to cover the basics, probiotics and chlorophyll are also great at boosting your body’s natural immune system.
You should always consult a medical professional if you believe you have health issues that do not look to be getting better, as it may be a sign that there could be some permanent damage to your health or an underlying condition that has not yet been diagnosed. Whilst unlikely, if you think exposure to black mould has resulted in a fever, shortness of breath or any other serious symptoms, make sure to contact your doctor or local emergency service right away.
Ask a pharmacist
e-Surgery offers a free to use ‘ask a pharmacist’ service which allows you to speak directly with one of our pharmacists to help you with any minor medical needs that you don’t feel is worth the hassle of getting a GP appointment for.
Our friendly team are here to give you piece of mind by identifying what your symptoms could be and offering the best prescription medication to help you resolve the condition if needed.
All you have to do is complete a short consultation online then you’ll be put through to one of our medical professionals in a matter of minutes. It’s really that easy!